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On Midtown’s 5th Street, ‘complete street’ design coming together

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Construction is scheduled to launch early next year

A rendering shows a street with one car lane in each direction, flanked by a protected two-way bike path and wide sidewalks.
Imagine a truly shared road in a high-traffic part of Midtown.
Midtown Alliance

Midtown’s 5th Street, “one of the most popular multimodal streets in Atlanta,” according to Midtown Alliance, is on track to become even more accommodating to non-motorists.

Midtown leaders, alongside City of Atlanta TSPLOST program officials, are now in the design and engineering phase of a “complete street” project—one that sacrifices automobile lanes in exchange for pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure—that would transform 5th Street between Williams and Myrtle streets.

The roughly 0.6-mile stretch runs from the Interstate 75/85 Connector east and links Georgia Tech properties with the Midtown Improvement District and Midtown Garden District. Already, it caters to cyclists, scooter users, and walkers better than most Atlanta thoroughfares.

Proposed upgrades, however, are anticipated to make it that much safer.

“Despite its many users, the existing street and sidewalk conditions on this major connector vary in quality and character, affecting user safety and experience,” reads a Midtown Alliance blog post.

With the corridor expected to become even busier in coming years, current plans call for, among other things, upgraded sidewalks and curbing, new and better ADA ramps and crosswalks, and a protected two-way cycle track.

Midtown residents, workers, and visitors can also look forward to new infill street trees and furniture, according to the latest designs for the “complete streets” initiative.

The project is slated to be funded with $750,000 from Midtown Improvement District coffers, plus $1.5 million in TSPLOST dollars.

“We are currently reviewing feedback we received at [a] September 18 open house event and during the public comment period that closed in early October to further refine the design and engineering plan,” said Midtown Alliance spokesman Brian Carr.

After that, he added, the organization will send its updated designs to the city later this fall for review, “with the goal to progress to final design in early 2020.”

Construction is expected to launch next year.